Choosing a major, thinking about a career, getting an education -– these are the things college is about. Yes, there are some students who arrive on campus and know exactly their major and career ambitions, but the majority of students do not, there is no need to rush into a decision about your major as soon as you step on campus!
And guess what? A majority of students in all colleges and universities change their major at least once in their college careers; and many change their major several times over the course of their college career.
First - You should exam your interests. What types of things excite you? What types of jobs or careers appeal to you? If you are not sure, start the process. The Office of Career Development can help you with your self assessment and provide you with opportunities to take assessments.
Second - Take stock of your abilities. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What kind of skills do you have? You can begin this self-examination by looking at your achievements. Is there a pattern there? What kinds of activities did you participate in while in high school? What kinds of things did you learn from part-time or summer jobs?
Third - Examine what you value in work. Examples of values include: helping society, working under pressure, group affiliation, stability, security, status, pacing, working alone or with groups, having a positive impact on others, and many others. Again, a visit to Career Development can help!
Fourth - Explore different occupations or search for a specific major. The Career Development web site provides a wealth of sites related to careers and "what can I do with a major in…?" fact sheets.
Fifth – Stop! Give yourself a reality check. You need to honestly evaluate your options. Do you really value physicians and have an interest in being a doctor, but have little skills in science? Does your occupation require an advanced degree, but your future commitments preclude graduate study? Do you have a strong interest in the arts, but your family is convinced you will become a CPA like your father? There are often ways to get around some of the obstacles during the reality check, but it is still important to face these obstacles and be realistic about whether you can get around them.
Sixth - Narrow your choices and focus on choosing a major. Based on all your research and self-assessment of the first five stops on your journey, you should now have a better idea of the careers/majors you are not interested in pursuing as well as a handful of potential careers/majors that do interest you.